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SanFrancisco

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 8

									                                         San Francisco
                                     Undertown RPG Group

                                            July 4, 2010


   Who are the Undertown RPG Group?                 this city, it would be “Cosmopolitan”. It was
   We’re an online Dresden Files RPG group.         originally inhabited by Native Americans, set-
   Some of us actually live in San Francisco;       tled by Spaniards, governed by Mexicans, fought
   the rest just enjoy making up stuff about         over and eventually bought by Americans, em-
   it. Thanks go out to our current members:        igrated to by Asians, and adopted by alterna-
   Aine, Booklover, Enjorous, Fyrchick, Lu-         tive cultures – and managed to blend them all.
   minous, Mystic, Tordon, and our GM,              Spend a day wandering the Presidio or fishing
   Mij.                                             off Pier 39. Take a tour of the city by cable
                                                    car and see our famous row houses. Explore
    We also recognize the contributions of          our asian heritage in Japantown or Chinatown.
    past members: Ahrrie, DwightFry, Faith-         Explore our counter-culture in Haight-Ashbury.
    Mage, Knight Disciple, paulHarkonen,            Look for all the locations you’ve seen in televi-
    and Themostocles. Thanks guys!                  sion shows, movies, commercials (who can forget
                                                    Rice-a-Roni?), books, and art.
                                                       But cosmopolitan has a bad side too. After
Introduction                                        all, the brighter the light, the darker the shadow.
                                                    Find yourself in the wrong section of the city too
In this guide, we’ll present our version of San late at night, and losing your wallet or car could
Francisco. A lot of it is true, some of it is ques- be the best you can hope for.
tionable, and the rest is totally made up. We’ll
let you decide what’s what.
                                                       Economy
San Francisco: “Baghdad by the                         San Francisco is one of the principal financial
Bay”                                                   centers on the West Coast. It got its financial
                                                       start with the California Gold Rush of 1848.
Welcome to San Francisco – or Frisco, as it’s          Wells Fargo and Bank of California were both
known to the locals. Gateway to the western            started with gold field proceeds. That gold also
United States for generations of people look-          fueled a lot of entrepreneurs; Levi Strauss and
ing for wealth, power, or just a fresh start. If       Domingo Ghiradelli, for example. Other names
we had to choose just one word to describe             you probably know as well.

                                                   1
   Of course, you know those names because they           to be clear and sunny; in winter, cloudy and
made it big. But the entrepreneurial spirit that          overcast. The winter is also when the city gets
drove those folks is still alive and well. In fact,       the bulk of its precipitation, typically in the form
companies with 10 or fewer employees make up              of rain.
85% of the businesses in the city. Don’t think               Like everything else, though, the weather in
these are all “Mom and Pop” shops, however                San Francisco varies. On the western and north-
(though there are a lot of those). San Francisco          ern sides of the city, the weather tends to be
has made a concerted effort to tie itself finan-            cooler, cloudier, and wetter. Sunset, Richmond,
cially to Silicon Valley, it’s tech-savvy neighbor        the Presidio, and Marina all fit this descrip-
to the south. So the start-up with three employ-          tion. The eastern and southern neighborhoods,
ees might be trying to broker deals with Tokyo            by contrast, tend to be more sunny and dry.
for the latest in cell phone technology. Or, in              And no discussion of climate could be com-
keeping with the cosmopolitan nature of the city,         plete without mentioning the fog. Few cities are
they might also be negotiating with Hong Kong             associated with fog as much as San Francisco.
to import rare vases.                                     How many other cities have a daily fog forecast?
   The biggest industry in San Francisco, how-            In summer, the fog comes in thick and billowing
ever, is definitely tourism. The city hosts mil-           along the western side of the city in the evening,
lions of visitors each year from a variety of coun-       and often persists until the middle of the follow-
tries, and generates billions of dollars in income        ing day. In winter, the fog tends to cling to the
from them. San Francisco is a popular location            ground in northern neighborhoods, and is often
for conventions and conferences, and the city has         accompanied by drizzling rain.
put a lot of work into creating the necessary at-
mosphere and infrastructure to support it. The            Geography
Moscone Center is recognized as a world-class
convention center; and there are over 200 hotels          San Francisco sits on a peninsula of land sur-
in the city, many of them with 4- or 5-star rat-          rounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the
ings.                                                     Golden Gate Strait to the north, and San Fran-
                                                          cisco Bay on the east. The peninsula itself is
                                                          very hilly, as anyone who has ever tried walking
Climate
                                                          around (or driving a stretch limo) in the city can
Mark Twain, who lived in San Francisco for sev-           attest. San Francisco has been called “the City
eral years, is famously misquoted as saying that          of Seven Hills”, but this is a misnomer. Exact
the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in          numbers vary, but everyone agrees there are sig-
San Francisco. The city has a very cool climate           nificantly more then seven. Some, like Telegraph
similar to those seen in parts of the Mediter-            Hill, are points of interest in their own right.
ranean. A jacket is almost always a good idea                The “official” elevation of the city is 60 feet,
here. The annual average temperature is around            but that doesn’t really tell you the story. The
60◦ F (16◦ C), and rarely varies more than 15 de-         elevation varies from 0 feet to 750 feet – often in
grees from that average. Annual humidity is               a very short distance. The hills are very steep,
84%. In the summer months, the weather tends              particularly in the center of the city. The terrain

                                                      2
becomes less steep (but still impressive) as you              with Wells Fargo and Bank of California based
move toward the ocean on the western side of                  there. Its exotic blend of cultures also attracted
the city, except for Golden Gate Park, which is               tourists and the idle rich alike. But on April 18th
generally flat. The eastern side of the city is also           at almost exactly 5:12am, the greatest earth-
very flat.                                                     quake in U.S. history and arguably one of the
   Contrary to popular myth, and despite the                  most significant earthquakes in known history
1906 earthquake, the San Andreas Fault passes                 occurred in San Francisco. The shock wave rup-
south and west of the city. There’s a rumor that              tured gas lines in buildings throughout the city,
a ley line runs adjacent to the fault; or perhaps             and caused a conflagration that required three
that the fault is itself a ley line. If that’s true, it       days to control. 225,000 people became home-
represents a vast source of potential power – for             less, and tent cities remained set up in the Pre-
the wizard insane enough to tap it.                           sidio, Japantown, and other neighborhoods for
                                                              the next two years. Rebuilding took most of the
                                                              next decade, and monetary losses were eventu-
What’s What in San Francisco                                  ally estimated in the hundreds of millions of dol-
                                                              lars. As a result, San Francisco fell behind other
San Francisco, true to its cosmopolitan nature,               west coast cities like Los Angeles.
has a rich and varied history. It was founded                    But though it was down, the city definitely
                   e       ın
by Lieutenant Jos´ Joaqu´ Moraga and Father                   wasn’t out. Over the course of the next several
              o
Francisco Pal´u in 1776, who named it for Saint               decades, San Francisco re-defined itself. It didn’t
Francis of Assisi. It passed from Spanish control             throw away anything that was already there; it
to Mexican control as a result of the Mexican                 just blended in new ideas. This process reached
War of Independence in 1821, and was then sold                an apex – and San Francisco had its last defin-
to the growing United States at the conclusion                ing moment – with the Free Love movement of
of the Mexican-American war – just in time for                the late sixties. San Francisco became the epi-
the California Gold Rush of 1848.                             center of an earthquake of a very different kind.
   The Gold Rush is one of the defining events                 Over 100,000 people (“hippies”) gathered in the
in San Francisco’s history. In one year, the pop-             Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, and brought al-
ulation of the city swelled from 1,000 to 25,000.             ternative lifestyles to national, and eventually in-
Though many of the arrivals were americans                    ternational, attention. Haight-Ashbury contin-
from the east, a large percentage were immi-                  ues to evoke a “Free Love” feeling to the present
grants from Japan, China, and Mongolia. Re-                   day.
gardless, they were all looking to start a new life
and maybe get rich. “Gold Fever” was every-
                                                              The Mundane Community
where, and martial law was imposed to stem the
tide of lawless behavior. The situation persisted             San Francisco is always characterized as a city
until California was made a state in 1850.                    with low crime, a city where everyone feels safe.
   The second defining event occurred in 1906.                 But if you look at the crime statistics, it really
By this time, the city boasted a population of                isn’t all that different from other cities of similar
400,000 people, and was a financial powerhouse,                size (or the national average, for that matter).

                                                          3
Kind of makes you wonder if the “low crime rate” A City with High Homeless Population
isn’t White Court propaganda to attract the best
and brightest in technical fields and help bring Theme: Prime Hunting
in tourism dollars.                                 Ever since the earthquake of 1906 (and some
   Regardless, ...                               say even before), San Francisco has been a some-
                                                 times unwilling host to a large homeless popula-
                                                 tion. They can be seen pretty much everywhere
The Supernatural Community                       in the city, but seem to congregate in the north-
                                                 eastern neighborhoods, starting around Haight-
TEXT                                             Ashbury, and continuing through Tenderloin and
                                                 out to North Beach and the Barbary Coast. Per-
What’s at Stake: Points of Conflict               haps not coincidentally, these are also some of
                                                 the neighborhoods in the city with the highest
San Andreas Fault TEXT                           crime rates.

Asian Mafia vs. White Court TEXT
                                                         A City in Turmoil
Native American Threat TEXT                              Threat: Old World, New Chinatown
                                                            The Asian mafia has been in San Francisco
Themes and Threats                                       since the Gold Rush days. Life was hard for the
                                                         new arrivals, and many of them turned to quasi-
There are tons to choose from, but here’s what           legal (or downright illegal) activities to support
we focused on. The White Court rules the                 themselves and their families. Add to that actual
city. They control the politicians, and have deep        criminals on the run from justice in the home-
hooks into the finances and entertainment indus-          land, and it isn’t hard to see how a criminal el-
tries. The Asian Mafia controls Chinatown and             ement got started.
Japantown. They have hooks into the police,                 It also didn’t take long for them to realize the
but not enough to seriously threaten the Whites.         opportunities that were here. Prostitution, drug
The Red Court, at least according to local rumor         running, gambling – these have been mainstays
mill, is trying to get a toehold in the city. Some       since the early days. San Francisco’s new face
say it’s driven by an old grudge. No appreciable         of technological up-and-comer has also opened a
influence from Faerie Courts or other Vampire             new set of opportunities. Industrial espionage,
groups, but there are some fringe groups, like a         high-tech crime, and information gathering have
native american sect.                                    all become lucrative fields.
                                                            However, the Asian Mafia has found itself sti-
A City With ???                                          fled in its pursuits by the velvet stranglehold the
                                                         White Court, through its political influence, has
Theme: Lax Morals, Loose Inhibitions                     on the city. Rampant crime doesn’t go well with
  Alternative theme ideas: Lax Morals, Loose             a tourism-based economy. Although the Mafia
Lips? Kiss-n-Tell?                                       has made inroads with the police department –

                                                     4
enough to ensure their prostitution and drug-           Court in San Francisco. Accounts vary, but ev-
running activities go virtually uncontested in          eryone agrees he’s been here at least a hundred
Japantown and Chinatown – they aren’t enough            years. The story is that he was on the outs with
to offset White Court control of the politicians.        House Raith, and came to San Francisco to lay
                                                        low. Then, when the Red Court got booted
                                                        out, he took advantage of the opportunity. As
Who’s Who in San Francisco                              a result, he has regained some measure of his
 Who Cares about the city? The Eye                      previous stature in the White Court.
 of Thoth, the police, the Venatori Umbro-                 Demetrios’ daughter, Antonia (aka “Toni”),
 rum                                                    runs Pandora, the most exclusive brothel in the
                                                        city. Despite that fact that she is engaged in
 Who Cares about the status quo?                        the world’s oldest profession, Antonia considers
 The White Court, the politicians                       herself a progressive. She convinced her father
                                                        to take the unusual step of moving into the po-
 Who Wants to Rock the Boat? The                        litical arena. As a result, the White Court has
 Red Court, the Asian Mafia, the native                  virtually total control of the political scene in
 american sect                                          San Francisco.

                                                        The Fae
The Black Court, The Jade Court
                                                        TEXT
Neither of these courts has any known influence
in San Francisco.
                                                        The White Council
The Red Court                                           TEXT
The Red Court has no presence in San Francisco
today, but that wasn’t always the case. Records         Other Factions and Organizations
are sketchy, owing to the Earthquake, but every-        TEXT
one knows the Red Court ran San Francisco back
in the Gold Rush days. Then, they were essen-
                                                        Native american sect
tially wiped out during the Earthquake. They
may be trying to get a toehold again; there have        TEXT
been unconfirmed rumors of Red Court agents in
the city. But their current goals, if any, remain
                                                        The San Francisco Police Department
a mystery.
                                                        TEXT
The White Court
                                           The Venatori Umbrorum
House Valetta, under the leadership of
Demetrios Valetta is the face of the White TEXT

                                                    5
Local Paranet Group?                                What’s Where in San Francisco
TEXT                                                TEXT

Individuals                                         City Lights Books
TEXT                                          Theme: Accorded Neutral Territory
                                              Face: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner and propri-
                                              etor.
Connor Bevan
                                                 A literary meeting place since 1953, City
Motivation: I will stand against the darkness Lights is a landmark general bookstore, interna-
for my fellow man                             tionally known for its expert selection of books
Face of: Venatori Umbrorum                    and for its commitment to free intellectual in-
  TEXT                                        quiry. Owner and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s
                                              store contains three floors of intellectual delights.
                                              Wind your way through twisty corridors and
Padre Guillermo Vicente Dionisio de stacks of books, and climb or decend narrow
Fausto                                        creaking stairways. The basement portion of the
Motivation: ???                               store is Accorded Neutral Territory, and a poetry
Face of: Mission Dolores                      reading room. Enjoy a cup of espresso across a
  TEXT                                        scarred and smoke-stained table from your direst
                                              foe while snapping your fingers for the latest in
                                              independent beat poets.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Motivation: I won’t take sides                      The Financial District
Face of: City Lights Books
                                                    Theme: Peddling Wealth and Influence
  TEXT
                                                    Face: Robert Goodfellow, financier and Sum-
                                                    mer Court Emissary.
Kenichi Tsokoda                                        The financial district, or FiDi as it is known
                                                    to locals, is home to the city’s largest concentra-
Motivation: ???                                     tion of corporate headquarters, law firms, banks,
Face of: Japantown                                  savings & loans and other financial institutions,
  TEXT                                              such as the corporate headquarters of VISA,
                                                    Wells Fargo Bank, the Charles Schwab Corpo-
Demetrios Valetta                                   ration, McKesson Corporation, Barclays Global
                                                    Investors, Bechtel, Gap, the Union Bank of Cal-
Motivation: I will return to my former glory        ifornia and salesforce.com among others. The
Face of: The White Court                            headquarters of the 12th district of the United
  TEXT                                              States Federal Reserve are located in the area

                                                6
as well. Montgomery Street (“Wall Street of the       Mission Dolores is the oldest surviving struc-
West”) is the traditional heart of the district.   ture in San Francisco, having survived both the
                                                   San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and the en-
                                                   suing fires virtually unscathed. Unbeknownst to
Japantown                                          the many people that worship in the newer Mis-
                                                   sion Dolores Basilica nearby, it is still being used
Theme: What Happens in J-Town, Stays in J-
                                                   by the Church to house the local chapter of the
Town
                                                   secret organization, the Eye of Thoth.
Face: Kenichi Tsokoda, wakagashira (1st Lt.)
to the obayun (family head) in Japan.
   Japantown lies one mile west of Union Square,
and comprises six square blocks that includes a Nob Hill Masonic Center
mall, hotels, businesses and residences. Mostly
owned by ‘outside interests’. Stronghold of Theme: ???
the Yamaguchi-gumi, the most powerful Yakuza Face: Connor Bevan, head of the local Venatori
family in the US.                                  Umbrorum.
   The Western Addition (J-town) remained un-         The Nob Hill Masonic Center officially serves
touched by the 1906 fire and provided a haven for as one of the main centers for the Freemasons to
the bulk of San Franciscos burned-out popula- perform community outreach. It is also a front.
tion. Tent villages were hastily erected in nearby A good part of the profits from the various con-
parks to provide emergency accommodations for certs, arts events, and so on at the center go to
homeless families. Later these families crowded fund the Venatori Umbrorum branch of the local
into small apartments which Western Addition Freemasons. Not all members of the local Ma-
homeowners had built into the attics, basements, son chapter know of this connection; only the
and wings of their homes. Many property own- top few, including Connor Bevan.
ers raised their houses and placed stores beneath
                                                      There is a hidden door to a stairway in the
them, and additional commercial buildings were
                                                   manager’s office; this stairway, wedged into the
constructed alongside homes. Thus began the
                                                   construction, leads to a tunnel running parallel
mixed land use which later brought restaurants,
                                                   to the parking garage for a short distance. It
theatres, saloons, and hotels to the area, many
                                                   then connects to a series of underground rooms
of which are owned by local Yakuza or Japanese
                                                   that house the information and tools necessary
based business. The warren of properties makes
                                                   for the work of the Venatori. There are (of
it almost impossible to find someone hiding here.
                                                   course) smaller caches around the city, but this
                                                   is the main one. Between the wards engraved on
Mission Dolores                                    the area, and the presence of a nearby church,
                                                   the Venatori manage to keep smaller supernatu-
Theme: A Refuge from Evil                          ral hunters away. The more dangerous sort are
Face: Padre Guillermo Vicente Dionisio de kept away primarily through a combination of se-
Fausto, Padre of the church, and head of the crecy, and aggressive enforcement of the bound-
local chapter of the Eye of Thoth.                 aries.

                                                  7
Tenderloin
Theme: ???
Face: ???
   Nestled between successful commercial areas
and high priced residential areas, the Tenderloin
is a community of seedy character with a repu-
tation for crime, particularly violent street crime
such as robbery and aggravated assault.
   Squalid conditions, homelessness, crime, ille-
gal drug trade, prostitution, liquor stores, and
strip clubs give the neighborhood its reputation.
However, these conditions have also kept rents
in the area more affordable to low-income and
working class people. Surprisingly, the area has
resisted attempts to gentrify and clean it up, al-
ways reverting to its former status as seedy crime
ridden wasteland of lost souls. The Asian Mafia
presence is very strong here.




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